You may have caught wind of a big change underway in the air conditioning industry. Freon is being phased out. Puron is the new go-to. If you’re wondering what this means and how it affects you, here’s the scoop.

The story in a nutshell, Freon (R22) used to be the standard refrigerant used in air conditioners. It’s being phased out due to environmental concerns and will eventually be unavailable. Instead, Puron (R410A) has become the refrigerant of choice. Though Freon and Puron serve similar functions, they cannot be used interchangeably. This means that you cannot just start using Puron if your air conditioning system was designed to use Freon. You actually need a different system altogether. Because manufacturing of Freon is intentionally being reduced each year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult and costly to acquire it. Prices have jumped significantly and are expected to keep skyrocketing as time goes on. Freon will be completely phased out by 2020.

How does this affect me?

If you have a maintenance issue that involves Freon (like a leak or compressor issue), what was once a basic repair may now be quite costly. Given the shortages of Freon, many homeowners are finding that paying top dollar for it no longer makes sense. Instead, they choose to put that money towards a new air conditioning system. Regardless of whether you have an immediate repair issue, we recommend that you begin to consider your upgrade options if your system uses Freon. Whether you choose to upgrade now or plan for the future, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) phase out plan will push you to make the switch eventually.

How do I know my if system uses Freon?

You’ll need to reference your system documentation or have a professional take a look. All air conditioners manufactured after December 31, 2014 use Puron and are already up to date. If your system was manufactured prior to 2015 though, the answer is less clear cut. Puron was introduced as early as 1995, so it’s possible to have an older system that uses it. If you are considering an upgrade, reach out to us. We can take a look and see whether your system uses Freon. If an upgrade is right, we’re happy to work with you to determine the best system and payment plan for your needs.

What is Freon, and why is the EPA phasing it out?

Freon is a type of refrigerant. Refrigerant plays a substantial role in the cooling process within your air conditioning system. The EPA has recognized Freon as an ozone-depleting substance that causes environmental harm. For more scoop, check out the EPA’s website.

Is it true that you can convert an old system to use Puron?

Yes, some people are more or less hacking their old system to use Puron in place of Freon. We don’t recommend this. In most cases, this conversion voids your warranty (whether that be your manufacturer’s warranty or your home warranty) and the cost of labor is high. In the long run, you’re much better off purchasing a new system designed to use Puron.